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What changes can I make during Fall Open Enrollment?

[x_blockquote cite=”Herman (Chattanooga, TN) ” type=”left”]Dear Marci,

What changes can I make during Fall Open Enrollment?


Dear Herman,

Fall Open Enrollment, also known as the Annual Election Period, runs from October 15 to December 7 each year. This is the time of the year when Medicare beneficiaries can make changes to their existing coverage.

If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan or a stand-alone Part D plan, your plan should send you an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) that lists any changes to your plan for 2017. These changes could be that the plan will charge a different monthly premium, cover different services, or change its formulary (the plan’s list of covered drugs).

You should read this notice carefully to see if any of the changes affect you. For instance, if your ANOC tells you that your Part D plan will have an annual deductible next year, you may want to choose a new Part D plan that does not have a deductible.

There are a number of changes you can make during Fall Open Enrollment. You can:

  • Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan (also called Part C)
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan back to Original Medicare
  • Switch from your current Medicare Advantage Plan to a new one
  • Join a Part D prescription drug plan (if you do not have one)
  • Switch from your current Part D prescription drug plan to a new one
  • Do nothing and stay with your current coverage

Any changes you make will become effective January 1, 2017. You can make as many changes as you like during Fall Open Enrollment, but only the last change you make will be effective in January.

If you have questions about your coverage, plan options, or just need help in general, there are a number of resources you can use for assistance:

  • Call 1-800-MEDICARE. You can call Medicare to learn about plan options in your area, confirm your current coverage, or change your coverage.
  • Visit You can use this online tool to search for and compare plans.
  • Call a Medicare Advantage Plan or a stand-alone Part D plan. By calling your plan you can learn about coverage and costs for the upcoming year, request a copy of the plan’s formulary, or enroll in the plan.

Fall Open Enrollment is a time to consider all of your health care options and needs. Even if you decide not change how you receive your Medicare benefits, it is a good idea to review your coverage and any changes that the plan may put in place for 2017.

– Marci

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